National League football club Wrexham AFC, recently taken over by Hollywood actors, has commissioned sports specialist AFL Architects to revamp its Racecourse ground.
The first phase of the stadium’s redevelopment is under way, with LED boards from Wembley having been installed around the pitch.
AFL’s first phase of work will be an initial audit and review project, the studio said, identifying opportunities to improve spectator experiences in the Racecourse’s concourses.
An important part of the project will be the redevelopment of the former Kop stand, regarded as totemic but closed since 2008.
Much of the neighbouring land is in the ownership of Wrexham Glyndwr University, which set in motion a campus overhaul in 2019 – a student village surrounds one corner of the stadium plot.
AFL has worked on sports projects including the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul, the National BMX Centre in Manchester and the Brentford Community Stadium, along with the revamp of the Edgbaston cricket ground.
Having worked with Chelsea on the club’s Cobham training ground, it is currently engaged on a barrier-seating scheme for the club at Stamford Bridge.
The appointment is a key step for the club’s new management, following the takeover by American actor Rob McElhenney and Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds this winter, as supporters of the previously fan-owned club voted to accept the deal.
The Racecourse is the largest stadium in North Wales and is the oldest ground in the world to have both hosted and still host international football, dating back its hosting Wales’ first ever home international in 1877.
John Roberts, director of AFL Architects, said: “This is an exceptionally exciting time for the club. I am always thrilled when AFL is commissioned in my home country, so the prospect of working for the oldest club in Wales is a very welcome one.
“The team fully understand and respect the club’s heritage and will be working closely and sensitively with them to revitalise their home ground.”
Wrexham’s executive director Humphrey Kerr said: “It is a hugely positive step forward to be working with AFL as they have a track record of blending the heritage of famous stadiums with an upgraded fan experience.
“Their expertise will also help us to ensure that the Racecourse Ground can become a hub for the Wrexham AFC community.”